This 2010-2011 athletic season has been extremely successful for the entire athletics department of Indiana University. Some of the bigger media grabbing sports have definitely had their struggles but where the media sports have been lacking the other teams have picked up the slack. Culminating what is likely to be a top 10 finish in the nation’s list of best athletic departments.
With everyone nearly finished with their spring seasons it is time to take a look back at the year as a whole to discover just exactly how our athletic department has been so successful. Both Track and Field programs still have some participants going to Nationals and Softball is still working their magic in the NCAA tournament but everyone else is most likely finished.
We are going to go through the whole department season by season. We will start today with the fall sports and then proceed to cover the winter sports and finally the extremely successful spring season. Hopefully this will all culminate in a final fourth article discussing our record high finish in the Director’s Cup (which ranks the nation’s top athletic programs). So follow me after the jump to discover how 24 sports have made 1 impressive team.
This fall was one of the most successful teams for our harriers in several decades. In what I consider to be the most difficult sport mentally our Hoosiers performed admirably. The Men’s team was able to complete historic season by finishing 7th at the NCAAs in Terre Haute. That is the best finish for the IU harriers since 1977. Coach Ron Helmer’s best runner Andrew Poore was IU’s first All-American since 2006 with a national finish of 38th place.
The Women’s team was not quite as successful as the Men’s team on a national standard but they had a good season of their own. Sarah Pease led the Lady Hoosiers to a 5th place finish at the Great Lakes Regional but it wasn’t quite good enough to get themselves to Nationals at Terre Haute. All five scoring runners for IU finished in the top 50 at Regionals. As a consolation prize both XX teams scored a point a piece for beating Purdue in impressive fashion.
The Women’s soccer team definitely had their struggles this past fall. Five seniors led this Hoosier squad to a 6-12-1 season. They dropped their game to an equally struggling Purdue team 1-2 giving Purdue a point to counter the two points that the cross country team picked up. Hoosier Women’s soccer has picked back up this spring and they are looking to greatly improve on last season’s showing.
The Men’s team finished with a mix bag of success and disappointments in their fall season. IU soccer is by far our most successful program here in Bloomington. Every year they are expected to make a title run as their talent pool is usually overflowing. IU can lay claim to 13 Major League Soccer players and 3 of them went in this year’s expansion draft. However, their season was mildly disappointing. Year in and year out they play the most difficult schedule in the nation and that reflects in their record of 10-8-2. They finished their season with a loss to the eventual national champs in the Akron Zips in the third round of the NCAA tournament. They didn’t score a point in the Crimson and Gold Cup because Purdue has no Men’s soccer team.
Women’s Volleyball was also an extremely successful season. They reached IU’s first Sweet Sixteen in the program’s history before falling to the 6th seeded USC Trojans. They did drop both games to Purdue who was capable of their own deep tournament run if not for what TMill tells us is a string of injuries that Purdue is always plagued with. So overall it was incredibly successful run of a season and they will be looking to build on it next year at their new facility. 23-12 will be tough to top, but if I know IU athletics like I do, nothing is impossible.
The best word to describe this year’s football season? BUCKETS! Because that is really the only positive that can be taken away from this pretty atrocious season. Beating Purdue for the first time on the road since 1996 was a great feeling. I was there in their student section doing my best to not get my ass kicked when we picked off the Purdue pass on the second play of overtime and were able to set up for a winning field goal. I celebrated like a boss but I tried to do it out of the public eye.
In the end the season was extremely unsuccessful. Bill Lynch ended up getting canned for his role in the bad season and we brought in Kevin Wilson to revamp the program and try and make it relevant. He’s already started to try and change the culture of Indiana’s fans by publicly asking questions like "why don’t people go into the games?" Wilson is going to have to show some results on the field if he wants to get the kids to put down the beer and go see the game, but at least he realizes it’s a problem and is taking steps to fix it. Hopefully he can start by building a team that routinely hangs "I’s" on the Old Oaken Bucket.